virus: Socrates

Reed Konsler (
Fri, 7 May 1999 13:19:10 -0400

>Date: Wed, 05 May 1999 11:35:13 -0700
>From: KMO <>
>Subject: Re: virus: Socrates

>KMO: Our leaders exploit our fears in order to sell us on a program that
>our freedoms.
>Reed: You make it sound like a bad thing.
>KMO: It IS a bad thing. I can get myself into a frame of mind in which I
>see it as
>a good thing, but that frame of mind is so far removed from my everyday
>that when I am in it, such things as horrific as genocide have a positive
>instructive value.

But then, wouldn't you be using fear of "horrific genocide" in order to sell us on a program? I'm not trying to be needlessly relativist. I'm just saying that we all have agendas based upon our hopes and fears which we try to implement in consensus with each other. When you use words like "exploit" and "restrict" you're tapping into that same pool of fear. I'm sure that you really believe, after careful consideration, that they ARE exploiting and restricting and I expect you to stand by that, just as I expect "Our leaders" to stand by their beliefs.

Please understand this, I agree with your politics.

>> There is nothing more capricious than rapid,
>> revolutionary change.
>Hmmm... I might agree with that, but I'm not sure. Could
>you say a bit more about this idea?

Well, I think Howard Bloom does a pretty good job in _The Lucifer Principle_ of showing how powermongers have a tendency to use ideologies of revolution to overturn one hierarchy for another where they are on top.

"Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo." H.G. Wells

>Well, I remember a bit of text set to music and accompanied by animated
>visions and
>broadcast repeatedly on Saturday morning television that has burned these words
>into my consciousness, "...establish justice, insure domestic tranquility,
>for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of
>liberty for ourselves and our posterity...".

Me, too. But you can see how those priorities can come into conflict with each other. Securing the blessings of liberty is one priority among others, including the most relevant: insure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare.

>> >To say that something is "unfortunate" has, to my ears, the ring of fatality
>> >to it. The "nurse-maid" society may be the current state of the nation, but
>> >it's not "just the way it is." It's something that can and will be changed.
>> But perhaps not by changing the rules?
>Or not JUST by changing the rules.


>I agree with your point about focus. Still, it's useful be able to
>understand the
>motivation and aims of those who pass bad laws, and they do think in "us
>vs. them"

Well, it takes two people to have an argument. If you're saying that we should understand the nature of people in order to overcome that nature then I agree with you. But you seemed to be supporting the idea that "they" were out to get "us". Now, despite the fact that you recognize that might not be the best way to approach change, you insist that becuase *they think* "they" are out to get "us" that we ought to think that way, also.

But, geez. I thought the whole enterprise was about breaking with those old, less productive, conflict ridden patterns of thought and engendering new ones. If in the short term that means we have to approach hatred and division with love and understanding...well, what do we expect?

It would be better to focus on the actual topic of debate.

>> Slack for all! But, we shouldn't be tolerant of ideas we
>> disagree with. I question your use of the word "abuse". It is the purpose
>> of law makers to enact law.
>I don't accept that it is the purpose of elected representative to just
>"make law."
>I think that making law for our representatives is like killing for
>soldiers. It's
>something that we expect they will do in order to carry out their job, but
>it is
>not the purpose of the job. The US soldiers who massacred unarmed South
>civilians at My Lai in 1968 were killing, but they were not carrying out their
>intended purpose as soldiers. So too with our representatives, when they
>pass laws
>that degrade rather than preserve liberty and individual autonomy or
>benefit one class of citizens at the expense of others, they may be making
>law, but
>they are not carrying out their duties as representatives of the people.

OK, I agree with that. Except that I expect every law to have a negative as well as a positive effect.


  Reed Konsler